By Rusty Thomas
In my travels of late, I’ve met many new recruits engaged against the culture of death. Though it is exciting to see fresh blood enter the battle, there is a concern they do not make the same mistakes by those who have gone before them. Prayerfully, this article will help them to avoid many of the snares, pitfalls, and traps that they will surely face as they attempt to end child-killing in America. It is not an exhaustive study that examines all the schemes of the Devil, but these are some of the major ones that have been effective against those who have attempted to end the American holocaust.
THE BATTLE WITHOUT AND WITHIN
For when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears (2 Corinthians 7:5).
Just recently, Elijah Ministries received a phone call from a concerned brother. He shared a testimony of standing on his pro-life convictions and receiving harsh treatment for defending innocent babies made in the image of God. As a result of this confrontation, he was moved with admiration towards the men and women of God who have stood for a long time against the culture of death that is defiling our beloved land. He asked how we were able to continue in the battle and endure the hatred, persecution, and rejection that come from standing for the least of these in the midst of this adulterous and wicked nation. Good question indeed!
In many cases, the Lord birthed folks into this battle by revelation of the Holy Ghost. He smashed hearts by the hammer of His word and opened many eyes to see how this particular sin and crime not only violated the personhood of the child, but God, Himself (Jeremiah 23:29).
Abortion is a personal affront to His holiness, law, and creative order as it relates to every sphere of life. In fact, I’ve written a book called Abortion Violation: America’s Premiere National Security Issue that chronicles the infringements perpetrated by abortion in our beleaguered nation. Perhaps, sometime soon it will be submitted for publication.
Regardless, it was God impressing His law/word upon our souls and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that sustained us in this battle to press on. We discovered God’s grace was sufficient, in spite of the long train of abuses wrought by a society that throws away people like the evening trash. Moreover, through reviewing God’s dealings with nations in times past who committed child-sacrifice, we learned that our country was in deep trouble with the Almighty. Examples like Josiah and Isaiah of old lept from the pages of Holy Writ (2 Kings 22 & Isaiah 6). Tragically, America falters as she sacrifices her children and shed blood. The price to pay homage to the idols of Moloch and Baal in our bloodstained nation is staggering to say the least.
In addition, we had seen how abortion mangled the baby in the womb. We witnessed the state betray their sacred trust to protect life and stop the shedding of innocent blood. We watched the majority of the church refuse to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and plead the case of the fatherless to win it. We saw, first hand, fathers and mothers cannibalize their own offspring through this wicked practice. And by God’s revelation, we have been able to connect the dots between our spiritual and moral state with the litany of woe, the increase of tyranny and the threat of Islam conspiring to overthrow all that we hold near and dear to us as a people.
All together, these and other dire predicaments, made it near impossible to abandon the children led away to slaughter. These precarious conditions produced as well an urgency to see this ministry end as soon as possible. Literally, our success is determined by how quickly we can work ourselves out of this life saving mission. If the truth be told, babies are not dying so we can raise money and have “Pro-life ministries.” Sadly, there are some in our midst that haven’t come to grips with this concept as of yet.
I believe those who have managed to continue to fight the good fight of faith would find this quote by Martin Luther helpful. The German Reformer states our position best:
If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that one point.
If we are Biblical Christians who long to see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, our vision and mission should be clear in this generation. Abortion and other assorted evils, like homosexuality, represent Satan’s frontal assault against the Kingdom of God. Every good soldier of Jesus Christ therefore needs to go these exposed areas to rebuild the walls and repair the burned gates that have created the openings for the enemies of the cross to kill, steal, destroy and pervert His image bearers. This is where the battle is raging. This is where the world and the Devil are attacking God’s truth in our generation.
The battle from without is much easier to discern. The usual suspects array themselves against us. Besides the world, the flesh, and the Devil, we contend against our government, media, feminist movement, the abortion industry, the pro-aborts, the sodomites, and radical Islam. This should not come as a surprise as our nation defends the indefensible. The Lord warned us that the world would hate us, because it first hated Him (John 15:18). The world’s hatred towards the Lord was based upon His denunciation against their evil deeds (John 7:7). If we follow Him, stand for righteousness and expose the hidden works of darkness in our day, we can expect the same treatment. This is why Peter taught:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified (1 Peter 4:12-14).
However, the battle from within is far more subtle and potentially harmful. Typically, we do not hold up the shield of faith to protect us from family, the church, and Christian brethren. When they become the instrumentation through which Satan launches his fiery darts, it goes straight to the heart and deeply wounds. This strategy of attack against committed rescuers of children has been especially effective. It has paralyzed many in their effectual service to Christ and the least of His brethren (Matthew 25:40, 45).
We must remember that abortion is one of Satan’s crown jewels. Historically, whenever this lying, murderous thief rears his ugly head, babies die. This was true in the time of Moses; it was true in the time of Christ; and it remains true in our day. Obviously, there will be retaliations if we attempt to defeat child-killing and drive the American holocaust back to hell from whence it came. Ignorance of this reality is costly as satanic schemes will come our way in various forms. This helps to explain why most Christians are missing in action when it comes to ending child-killing. They instinctively know if they put their hand to this battle, there will be a price to pay (Luke 14:28). Predictably, while many seek to gain their lives, babies lives are lost (Matthew 16:25). Brethren, these things ought not to be as our great nation stands in peril today. For each innocent child that dies through the sin and crime of abortion, a part of America dies with him/her.
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).
The Apostle Paul knew Satan seeks advantage against God’s people. He was personally aware of his hindering ploys (1 Thessalonians 2:18). Thus, he desired Christians to be Biblically informed to discern his schemes, which seek to waylay us in our service towards God and the advancement of His Kingdom. How many born-again believers are skilled to discern these spiritual realities in our day? How many truly recognize the devices of Satan when employed against them? If the current state of the American church is any indication, there are not many. There are those who started well in this battle and their lives became shipwrecked. Unfortunately, most of them remain missing in action to this day. This is no game. The casualties are very real. This is why entering this conflict requires personal holiness, families in order, and remaining under Scriptural authority. Otherwise, every opening will be exploited by the enemy to take us on and take us out.
We must have the courage to face the hard truth in these days of image and scarce substance. There seems to be no major distinction between those who name the name of Christ and those who blaspheme His holy name! Every cultural indicator reveals Christians are running neck and neck with the world as it relates to immorality, passive/irresponsible men, rebellious women, divorce, unruly children, addiction to pornography, abortion, and host of other evils invoking God’s wrath upon our nation. No wonder Ichabod (the glory of God has departed) could be written over many denominational signs on our church buildings today.
If Christians survive these onslaughts and move from a defensive posture, the avoidance of sin, to an offensive posture, obviously, the tactics of the enemy will change as well. The truth is, if the enemy can’t tempt us to go bad, he will attempt to get us going good. Self-righteousness, spiritual pride, condescension towards others, and host of other traps await those who take the Gospel of the Kingdom to the gates of hell.
I know many Christian Pro-lifers who have endured the sting of battle who struggle with the church abandoning them. They get tired of being treated like a second-class citizen in God’s Kingdom and considered an embarrassment to the church. On a personal note, I can remember a pastor shaking his fist and screaming, “You are worse than abortion.” According to his view, our attempts to save the lives of children were worse than abortion. I told him politely, “I like what we are doing to save lives better than what you are not doing.”
Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (Matthew 18:7)
Jesus promised many things will impact our lives in this world. One of them is called offences. They will surely come and try each and every one of us. The issue is not the offence itself, but rather our response that determines our spiritual growth or lack thereof. There is a right way to handle offenses and a wrong way. If we handle them wrong, the destructive power of the offense works to debilitate us. It gives rise to resentment, unforgiveness, and a host of other spiritual maladies.
The Greek word for offence in this case is called scandalon. We get the word scandalized from it. Perhaps, a word/picture will help to explain the Biblical meaning more fully. Imagine a big game hunter in deepest, darkest, Africa. He digs a deep pit, covers it with large branches, hangs a bloody piece of red meat and dangles it over the hole in the ground. Unbeknownst to a large beast, a trap has been set to capture him. Seeing and smelling the meat, the beast is aroused. His natural inclinations demand he jump and devour the meat. As he follows his nature, however, to his horror, the hunter becomes the hunted and the predator has become the prey. He has fallen into the pit, held hostage by his natural instincts.
In like manner, as we enter the battle of the ages, we will suffer persecution, trials, afflictions, offenses, tribulations, misunderstandings, and rejections. There will be attacks from within and from without. All these act like the bloody piece of red meat that tempts us to feel justified according to human nature to strike back and overcome evil by doing evil. That may be how the world handles their struggles, but it must not be the course we set as Christians. Our Lord Jesus provided the example on how to stand firmly for the truth, endure persecution, without becoming what we seek to end. 1 Peter 2:21-23 states:
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.
Many in the American church do not realize what Christians have endured in the cause of Christ to end the massacre of children in the womb. They have been beaten, bloodied, jailed, injured, and one was even martyred. They have been maligned, fined, shunned, betrayed and a host of other injustices too numerous to mention. If they are still standing and fighting the battle, it is because they learned the lessons from 1 Peter 2:21-23. By God’s grace, they continue to stand boldly for the truth, even though; they receive condemnation for their valiant efforts. When attacked, however, they don’t return guile for guile. Instead, they turn to their persecutors and respond with the love and the forgiveness of Christ. As a result, we have seen many Sauls become Pauls as the power of darkness is defeated by the truth, love, and the forgiveness of Christ.
AVOID FOOLISH COMPARISONS
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).
Once a humble shoemaker came to the great reformer, Martin Luther and said, “Mr. Luther, you are a great man of God. It is obvious how you glorify God in your life. I’m just a humble cobbler. How can I glorify God?”
Mr. Luther answered, “Make a good pair of shoes.” There is so much wisdom contained in this exchange. Many think they have to become like someone else to find value, worth and meaning in this fleeting life.
To stay faithful in the battle, however, it is vital that we avoid foolish comparisons. It only leads to self-degradation on the one hand or arrogant pride on the other. How is this possible? We will either exalt others or put ourselves down or we will exalt ourselves and put others down. In either case, it will cripple our effectiveness in serving our King and make it near impossible to fulfill Psalm 82:3,4, which states, “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.”
The issue is not who you are on the wall or where you are on the wall; it is whether or not you are on the wall repairing the exposed areas. Personality cults, celebrity status, inflated egos and self-destructive introspection must yield to the cross and die, so others, including ourselves, may live.
DEALING WITH FACTIONS AND DIVISIONS
And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand (Matthew 12:25).
Since time memorial, the enemy of our souls has sought to hinder the work of God through the strategy of separate, divide, and conquer. In almost every city with a pro-life presence at the gates of hell, you can mark it down, factions and divisions are present as well.
Some are necessary, while others are not. The Apostle Paul declared, “For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Corinthians 11:18, 19). Paul was not happy about the divisions, but also knew some of them were necessary to put difference between the wheat and the chaff, the holy and profane, the clean and the unclean. Jesus, Himself, warned us:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household (Matthew 10:34-36).
When God divides, it is to preserve the credibility and purity of His word and people. When Satan divides, it is to discourage the work of the Lord and hinder its progress. If the enemy can shift the focus from the true battlefront (child-killing) by creating factions and divisions, he will succeed in distracting us. Instead of defeating abortion, the focus subtly shifts to tearing ourselves apart. As we argue, rail, and plot our schemes against one another, the enemy is free to kill, steal, and destroy. He has been especially effective in this regard.
We must remember in this battle, we are called to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). God calls us to live in peace with all men as much as lies within us (Hebrews 12:14). Some in this battle, however, make it impossible. They don’t desire reconciliation. They seek our harm. What are we to do? Sometimes to preserve the work and to defend the lambs, we must learn to suffer the wrong. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren” (1 Corinthians 6:7,8). A good shepherd, who truly understands that this is not about him, will lay down his life to ensure the sheep are not torn apart. He will suffer the wrong. It is better to be harmed personally than to disrupt or destroy the work of the Lord. In more public cases, however, we must be willing to mark those who cause division and declare, “the Lord judge between me and thee” (Romans 16:17).
THE PRO-LIFE PIE
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24)
I’ve witnessed a terrible perspective through the years in the battle against the culture of death. It centers on calculating the limited resources available to fund pro-life work. Some see it as a pie in their community and they become extremely determined to get their slice, regardless of who they may hurt or defame in the process.
Tragically, there are some in the name of life that have stolen, usurped positions, and lied to garner financial support. It is these immoral actions that inspired a previous statement, “Babies are not dying so we can have a ministry and raise funds.” The same God who commanded, “Thou shalt not kill” is also the same God who commanded, “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” To all in this battle, I plead with you to avoid the “Pro-life Pie” syndrome. God is not limited by a pie. Where there is the Lord’s vision, there will be provision. If you have forgotten these truths and violated God’s laws to garner resources, I adjure you by the mercies of God to repent and make it right. Otherwise, you have your reward and it is limited to your manipulations on earth.
SACRIFICE AND PERSONAL LIBERTIES
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines (Song of Solomon 2:15).
Another mentality to avoid in this battle is the “Sacrifice and Personal Liberty” syndrome. There are a few pro-life leaders who were brought down by this mentality. They figured because they sacrificed more than others, they were entitled to certain liberties. They thought that God would not mind if they enjoyed some worldly pleasures in the midst of the struggle. Once they became convinced of this idea, moral compromises soon followed in its wake. What they were in public and what they were in private became inconsistent. Satan exploited the difference and their lives became shipwrecked.
The Bible warns that it is the little foxes that spoil the vine. Why is this true? It is the little foxes that nibble at the roots rather than higher up to eat the fruit. A tree can survive its fruit being eaten. It cannot survive if its root is devoured. Besides, the book of James admonishes us, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” The standard therefore is to be raised as leaders rather than lowered.
Lastly, to remain faithful in the battle, you must burn on the oil of the Holy Ghost, rather than the wick of your own life. None of us were made by God to absorb all the evil in this world. We are to look to the One who can. Our responsibility is to be filled with the Spirit, be governed by the Gospel, and as John Quincy Adams stated, “Duty is mine, the results belong to God.”